The three shows on display at The Whangarei Art Museum have an interweaving thread exploring how attitudes towards those defined as "others" have - in the past, present, mainstream or margins - shaped and justified the way people are treated.
Jill Sorensen's Significant Others is an installation that asks its audience to engage their bodies as well as their eyes. The open door of the tent invites the viewer to enter its intimate interior and spend a moment in contemplative imagination. Sorensen approaches the humans, animals and plants with whom she cohabits with compassion and alertness to difference, striving to locate the singularity of each relationship. These moments of relationship are brought together in an experiential installation that allows us to glimpse the small intimacies that arise through the mundane daily acts of caring.
Yuki Kihara's A Study of a Samoan Savage, explores the histories of motion photography and anthropometry simultaneously. Presented in film noir cinematographic spirit, this powerful, allegorical series, features a mythical character (Maui) - a Polynesian demigod, performing a variety of movements, documented as 'motion-photography'. Strongly evidenced is the historical role of photography and the key role it played in establishing classifications in the study of race, gender, the human body, the science of movement and human evolution. A native of Samoa, Yuki Kihara is an interdisciplinary artist whose work is characterised by investigations into memory, post/de/colonialism, temporality and aesthetics often exploring the experience of peoples in the Pacific region and their diaspora; and the varying relationships and intersections between gender, race, sexuality, culture and politics.
Megan Bowers-Vette's Us. shares the photographs and stories of men and women from New Zealand and Australia who have experienced sexual assault. No anonymity is provided; show your face, say your name, be proud of who you are and speak your truth. Anonymity sends a signal that there is still something to be ashamed about. Us. is an incredibly moving chronicle of the acts of love performed by these people; putting their own pain aside to create a loving safe community for those who need it the most. The project aims to foster a deeper understanding of the spectrum of sexual violation and how it affects people's sense of self-worth, their mental health and relationships with others. The reflections are not about wielding pitchforks and exacting revenge against a perpetrator, they are overwhelming stories of love, forgiveness and freedom.
Disclaimer: A Study of A Samoan Savage contains full male nudity. Us. containes challanging themes which some viewers may find upsetting